Mirisavatiya Dagaba has been built by King Dutugamunu (161-137 BC) and this belongs to Mahavihara Complex. King Dutugamunu is the great king who defeated the Tamil invaders who ruled the country for 30 years and brought the country under one ruler.
When the great king Dutugamunu was going to the water festival after his consecration he left his sceptre (kunta) which had a scared relic of Buddha inside, on this location. When he returned the kunta was stuck and nobody could remove it. So the king seeing this miracle constructed a Dagaba here.
It is said that he called this dagaba “Mirisavatiya” because the king forgot to present a food made out of chilli (miris) to the Buddhist priests before he consumed it. It was the practise of the king to present a portion of all the food which is cooked in this castle to the priests before he consume it.
The Dagaba was restored in the in the 1980’s but the whole construction collapsed in 1987. This also destroyed one of the best Vahalkada structues of Anuradhapura Era. The Dagaba you see now was completed in 1993 and is enclosing the remains of the original Dagaba and has lost all historic features of the original. The present dagaba is 192 feet (59 metres) in height and 141 (43 metres) feet in diameter.
A British scholar who examined this monument in the late 19th century recorded the diameter of the original stupa 168 feet (51 metres) and the height about 200 feet (61 metres) .
February 4, 2007